Posts Tagged ‘African American Women’

Nomalanga: Are Black Men disabled?

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Today, I received a message from a man who described himself as “a disabled black man”. He asked me a very important question in response to some of my posts that talk about what black men want or what black women want. For the purpose of this post, I will call him “G”.

G: what about black men

Me: What about them, G?

G: You wrote about what black women want – well as a black disabled male, I know they do not want disabled males

Because I do not personally know G, I had to assume that he was physically or mentally challenged and that is what he was referring to as “disabled”. This got me thinking; we all have some form of “disability” and “black men” are no different. In addition to that, I believe that black men have a collective “disability” that is unique to them. Through no choice of their own, they have been built into many people’s minds as a threat and every day, they have to overcome that “disability”. The Trayvon Martin case has reminded us that black men and boys can even be brutally killed because of this “disability”.

Here is how I responded to “G”:

I hear you [G]. I think it is important to re-define how people perceive who you call “black disabled males”. Being “black” or “disabled” or “male” are all secondary to being a human being. We all want to love and be loved and all the descriptions come after.

What we all want is for people to see us for who we are; not for what we can be described as. On a personal note, I have spent A LOT of time investing in my personal development and the people who genuinely love and appreciate me do so because of who I am and not what I can be described as.

We are all differently abled and there will always be people who can see past our “disability” and focus on what we are able to do. There is no one on this earth that is still alive that does not have some ability-the fact that we are here is a testament to the fact that we have ability and our own unique ability is our contribution to this life as long as we are alive.

Have a great day, [G]!

Here is the bottom line: The people in this country and the world, at large, are going to have to find a way to see people for who they are (human beings) before they see their “blackness” or any other “ness” that can describe them. We have to start seeing people without using a lense of racism or any other “ism” that we can come up with.

Nomalanga: Miss World announces contestants list-what about the judges?

Friday, April 20th, 2012

It is being reported that a list of 50 winners of national beauty pageants around the world was made public. These 50 are the first of what is expected to be a total of 120 women all vying for the Miss World 2012 title. What I find interesting is that we always know so much about the contestants but so little about the judges.

It makes sense that in order to protect the integrity of the judging process, the international beauty pageants would not disclose the names of the judges but I also think it is reasonable to expect that after the pageants, there should be full disclosure. If there is no transparency in the judging process, we can never be certain that the winner was chosen fairly.

My experience at Mrs World 2011
led me to write a letter to the Mrs World Pageant owners, specifically because the pageant lacked both transparency in the judging process and there was a lack of diversity in the selection of the judges as well. Of the nearly 60 women that entered the Mrs World pageant, there were no less that 12 women who were either African or identified themselves as being of African decent and yet, not one single one made it into the top 14. Of the women that the judges selected to go into the top 14, only Mrs Vietnam (a gorgeous and phenomenal woman) made it in. The problem with this is that the only non-white judge on the judging panel was a Vietnamese woman who is also a former Mrs Vietnam.

I’m saying all this to make one basic point, we need BOTH transparency and diversity in judging international pageants. If pageants are going to define beauty by narrow, euro-centric standards, then it may be best for those that do not fit into those narrow stands to forgo entering the pageants all together. Although pageants are about more than how the women look, it is next to impossible to deny that how the women look is certainly a critical factor in deciding who walks away with the title.

The main reason why I wrote the letter to the owners of the Mrs World pageant is because I believe that the Mrs World did not select a diverse pool of judges and in so doing, they opened most of the Mrs World contestants to an unfair pageant experience.

One thing that I absolutely love about the Miss World (not MRS) pageant system is that their judging system is such that they always have a finalist from every continent or region of the world. That being said, in their history, they have only, to my knowledge, ever had two Black women win the title. Statistically, that is not high enough and I hope that in the coming years, we will see an improvement. Being a finalist and or runner up is great, but black women deserve to wear the crown as well.

The Unmarried, Single, Pregnant Gospel Singer: What This Says about Black Women and Safe Sex

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Le’Andria Johnson, the winner of BET’s “Sunday Best” Gospel singing competition, recently revealed that she is unmarried and pregnant. Does this invalidate her status as a role model or has it become par for the course among African American women?

In the video below, Dr. Boyce Watkins speaks with YBW contributor Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses about the status of black women, safe sex and appropriate role model.
Source

Kevin Hart’s message to “Strong Black Women”

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Funny man, Kevin Hart, has allegedly  taken to cartoon illustrations to get his message across to black women about their attitudes. In the cartoon, he shows a group of black women rejecting a black man’s friendly greeting and then goes on to show the same black man walking with a white woman. The funny part is that the same black women who rejected him are then angry to see him with the white woman. The following words are written at the top of the cartoon: Being a “strong black woman” does not mean have an attitude.

What is interesting about this cartoon is that even though Kevin hart is being funny, there is an element of truth in his joke. I have often heard the angry ramblings of black women when they see a black man who has chosen to date or marry a non-black woman. He is often accused of hating himself or hating black woman or some variation of a negative opinion of his choice of partner. Of course, not all black women are angry or even care when they see black men with women of other races but it can’t be said that Kevin Hart is entirely wrong for pointing it out.

What Kevin Hart’s cartoon did fail to illustrate, however, is that there are black men who have such a deep seeded loathing for black women that they will date anyone except a black woman! Most of these men do not date non-black women necessarily because they have been rejected by black women, but instead because they have taken the worst stereotype of black women and draped it all over ALL black women.

At the end of the day, we can keep accusing each other of “selling out” or suffering from self loathing but the numbers still speak louder than any of us can. There are too many broken homes in the black community and a lot of our children are not being raised in happy, healthy and functional two parent homes. An open dialogue needs to take place about how we can begin to bring those statistics down and maybe people like Kevin Hart, although doing it through humor, are doing their part in opening the doors to the dialogue that needs to take place.

Do We Sometimes Seek Out Abusive and Disappointing Relationships?

Monday, April 9th, 2012

In the video below, Dr. Boyce Watkins and Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses ask whether or not many African Americans are using the wrong formula to build their relationships.(The audio on my end has an echo but is still audible).

Originally posted at Your Black World.

The Trayvon Martin case: We have work to do

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Ever since I heard about Trayvon Martin, the teenage boy who was brutally murdered by an over- zealous neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I was so emotionally impacted by the murder. I’ve realized that it means so much to me because a little over three years ago, I gave birth to the most adorable baby boy that I have ever known, my son.

Ever since the birth of my son, who is my second child, I have had to think about something that I never really used to give much consideration. I have had to think about what it means to grow up as a black boy in America. My husband, who was born and raised in America (I was born and raised in Botswana), has shared many stories of how he has experienced being assumed to be “dumb” in school, mainly because he was black and some stories about how he was assumed to be the aggressor in any conflict, again because he was Black. In spite of him having shared his experiences with me, the fact that he is now a grown man who has made tremendous advances in his career and his life goals, made his stories a little less real to me or at least not something that I had a great deal of concern about.

When I heard about Trayvon Martin, I had a moment where I wept uncontrollably and I realize that what has changed about me is that I am now a mother-I am Trayvon’s mother. My Trayvon is still only three years old and he goes by a different name that his father and I gave him but he is a sweet boy who we love very much and he does not deserve to be shot to death.

Read the rest here.


Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses is a wife, mother, professional speaker and an Assistant Professor of Professional Studies. For more information about Nomalanga’s programs, please click here.

Viola Davis Won!

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Viola Davis was nominated for an Oscar and she did not win, this year. Last week, before the Oscars, I watched the interview below and realized that even before she knew whether or not she won the Oscar, she had already won. I had the same experience at Mrs World.

There is a point in every woman’s life when she realizes the truth about who she is and from that moment, she is a winner.


Black women heavier and happier with their bodies than white women

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

According to the Post-Kaiser poll, which offers the most extensive and nuanced look at the lives of black women in decades, 28 percent of black women say that being physically attractive is “very important,” compared with 11 percent of white women. White women were more likely than black women to say being attractive was “somewhat important.”

For African American women, that desire often gets defined in ways the mainstream culture doesn’t recognize.

Princeton professor Imani Perry teaches interdisciplinary classes in African American studies and notes black women have conceptions of beauty that are “not just tied to the accident of how you look as a consequence of your genes.” They include style, grooming, how you present and carry yourself, and “how you put yourself together, which I think generally speaks to the fact that we have a much broader and deeper conception of beauty.”

Gibson’s mission is to get women to embrace their size but to work toward being fit. She preaches acceptance but says white fitness professionals often seem almost resentful of her confidence.

“If I were this plump, meek person doing the same thing I do, I think they would embrace me.”

Her rule: “Do you,” Gibson says, “and be okay with me being me. I can never be mad at this thin person. I say, ‘You’re sexy, you’ve got it going on. But don’t think for one minute that I don’t feel the same about myself.’ ”

Read the story here from Washington Post.

Tyra Banks:10 Steps to Becoming the CEO of Your Own Life

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Applyin’ to college? Gettin’ ready for day one on the new job? Wanna start your own company? Whether you’re just gettin’ started, or makin’ your way up the career ladder, the first step to your success is to become CEO of your own life! By that I mean, take control of everything you do – from how you present yourself to who you surround yourself with to how you interact with friends and coworkers.

Before I created my own company, I learned a few tips and tricks to get where I am now – from personal to business to social. Work may be the tippy top of the pyramid, but you gotta fit in your life foundation underneath! Follow my ten steps to finding the greatness in you (no power suit required – but sometimes it helps if you dress the part)!

Step 1: Take a Moment
At the end of each day, take a moment to reflect. What do you need to work on? Were you too shy to speak up in a meeting? Did you let someone else steal your thunder? Write down each of those missed opportunities and refer back to this list to make habit-changing goals! Reflect on that in the morning and you’ll be on your way to making sure you never skip a beat again. Remember, it’s a learning process! Don’t get down on yourself! It may take you a few tries to get it right.

Every single idea I have is written down on one of those businessy-business yellow pads. Modelland started 5 years ago on a scrap piece of paper – and to this day I STILL have it! Nothin’ like the power of a scribbly note that you jotted down as soon as the idea came to you! Who knows, it may come in handy days, months, or years later!

Step 2: Make a First Impression
I’ll admit it. Everyone gets nervous meetin’ someone for the first time, (even me!) – if it’s your first day at school, a board meeting, or meetin’ your boyfriend’s momma. Fight those jitters, ‘cause first impressions are oh-so important on the path to becoming your own CEO! Walk into that room with a smile on your face,—not one of those fakey-fake-“I’m-trying-to-impress-you” smiles, but a real genuine grin.

Follow up with the perfect handshake: face your shake-ee directly and use your right hand. You need to practice that grip— make sure you don’t squeeze till you break it! There’s a balance between overbearing and limp fish. A fierce shake and a flash of those pearly whites … you’re already showin’ part of that CEO strength!

Step 3: Dress to Impress
You are the face of your own company. When going to work or meetings you should look clean and polished. I don’t always like to be dressed up, but one tip I can give is that little touches make all the difference. Throw that blazer over a pencil skirt or pair of pants, brush that hair out of your face, and add just one bit of bling. I like to wear heels to all of my meetings ‘cause the height gives me a little extra oomph, and like I always say, if you’re tall, own those inches! Most importantly, make sure you’re comfortable. You don’t wanna be scrunching, pinching, ouching through the meeting, when your focus has to be on the business task at hand!

Step 4: Make a Plan
Now, how are you going to make your dreams a reality without a plan? No matter if they’re teeny weeny changes or big goals down the road, start small, think big! Set goals and make some serious timelines that you hold yourself to. You should set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. Breakdown what you want to accomplish and how long it’s going to take you. Get off track? Regroup and re-goal. Find out where you miss-stepped and restructure that plan from there.

Don’t be scared of the bumps and bruises that come along. That big plan looks big now, but with your mini milestones you’ve planned out and big picture thinking, you’ll reach that end goal with some hard work and serious sweat.

Step 5: Build Relationships
Remember that assistant that greeted you at the door? You never know what she or he will be up to next! The key to each industry is networking. Every single person you meet in life could help you on your path to becoming a CEO.

I’m a firm believer in internships, but the key to acing that role is to remember that no job is above you – whether it’s stacking the printer with paper, makin’ coffee, or takin’ notes in that big business meeting. Make sure to make friends with your fellow interns and colleagues.

Get out there! Go to industry events, do your research, meet those important people! Use your fab and fierce handshake (paired with your smile) and make that first impression.

Step 6: Practice Humility
I’ve noticed that all the super-successful people I’ve met have one thing in common—they are amazingly humble! Be modest about your accomplishments and give credit to the people who have helped you along the way. Most importantly, be able to laugh at yourself! I may have been a supermodel, but I can always put on a silly face for the camera!

Step 7: Get Organized
From my home to my office, I am super organized! Let’s be real—if your stuff is a mess, you‘re gonna feel all over the place. Take a day or two to sort through your things—donate whatever you don’t need and find a place for the things you do. Then, use a label-maker to clearly mark where everything goes.

Step 8: Budget, Baby!
No matter how big or small your bank account is, you need to run your financial life on a budget. Start by spending a month writing down EVERYTHING you spend (down to every latte). Then determine which expenses are necessities (rent, food, etc.) and deduct from your overall income. What remains can be divided into spending money and saving money. Don’t rack up those credit card bills on unnecessary purchases – reachin’ those big goals needs serious planning on all fronts – and money is one of the biggest!

Step 9: Manage Your Time
I keep a schedule each and every day and I carry it with me everywhere I go! Whether it’s a business lunch, a night out with friends or a dentist appointment— all those appointments are right there in my datebook. Bein’ on time and accountable are two of the most important traits a CEO can have. Set up that iPhone calendar, organize your Blackberry, or go old school and buy a new planner every year!

Step 10: Stay in the Know
If you want to be successful in a certain field, you have to stay up to date with all the latest news! I still read all the fashion mags to keep up with the latest trends and news in the fashion biz and love readin’ my tech news on the daily. Set up Google Alerts for all your topics of interest. And, y’all know I love Twitter! I follow all kinds of companies and people so I don’t miss a thing.

So, are you ready to be the CEO of your own life? Keep me posted on how it goes! TYRA

Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker: How to Have a Happy Marriage

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Check out this interview that Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker did with essence.com. I love seeing marriage work and I love it even more when the happy couples share their “secret to success”. Enjoy!

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